Favorite Records, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc. I hope you had a great 2013 and are content this evening — whatever that means for you. If you're not, get to work on that in the new year.

Below are my favorite records of the year, along with a selection from each. No rankings or affiliations are intended by the layout.

Peace and so many good vibes to you and yours.  

xo,

RSB

James Blake — Overgrown

James Blake — Overgrown

Hammock — Oblivion Hymns

Hammock — Oblivion Hymns

Jensen Sportag — Stealth of Days

Jensen Sportag — Stealth of Days

William Tyler — Impossible Truth

William Tyler — Impossible Truth

Deerhunter — Monomania

Deerhunter — Monomania

My Bloody Valentine — MBV

My Bloody Valentine — MBV

Vampire Weekend — Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend — Modern Vampires of the City

The Strokes — Comedown Machine

The Strokes — Comedown Machine

Jon Hopkins — Immunity

Jon Hopkins — Immunity

Helado Negro — Invisible Life

Helado Negro — Invisible Life

Caitlin Rose — The Stand-In

Caitlin Rose — The Stand-In

The National — Trouble Will Find Me

The National — Trouble Will Find Me

Tim Hecker — Virgins

Tim Hecker — Virgins

Oneohtrix Point Never — R Plus Seven

Oneohtrix Point Never — R Plus Seven

Daft Punk — Random Access Memories

Daft Punk — Random Access Memories

Atoms For Peace — AMOK

Atoms For Peace — AMOK

Kanye West — Yeezus

Kanye West — Yeezus

Drake — Nothing Was The Same

Drake — Nothing Was The Same

Arcade Fire — Reflektor

Arcade Fire — Reflektor

Washed Out — Paracosm

Washed Out — Paracosm

Redirect

Hi friends,

Continue to find me on Tumblr until I discern what this space will or won't hold.

Love,

RSB

Revisiting

My writing for MAGNET's print edition typically isn't featured online, so I scanned a recent blurb I wrote on Grizzly Bear's Shields and uploaded it to my editorial page just now. Shields came in at #19 in the magazine's Top 25 albums of 2012, and I'm glad I was able to reflect on it, as it is/was definitely a highlight for me this year. 

The process of scanning print work continued as I realized three pieces I wrote at the very beginning of my tenure as a music writer were no longer available online. Uploading features on Milktooth and Winston Audio, as well as a live review of Balmorhea and Tiny Vipers, brought on mixed feelings — it's always bittersweet to come face to face with our early attempts at greatness, isn't it? But it's more rewarding than anything. Behind those stories is an earnestness that is unmistakable, and one that I'm not sure still exists on some days. So it's good to look my younger self in the mirror and remember what it felt like to be excited by an opportunity (any  opportunity) to publish.

Switching gears, I'm including David Bazan's cover of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" below. I was reminded of the song at Village Chapel this morning as Kim Thomas reflected on the horror of the Connecticut shootings, and how the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow grieved the loss of his wife and severe injury of his son through its creation in the mid-19th century.  

Somewhere there is light, always.  

Carry On

A new blog. Why? 

Great question.

Truthfully I felt like I couldn't start a new site without one. But I haven't worked out its purpose as of the new site's launch. I write semi-regularly for publications that receive far more traffic than this .com ever will and, as of right now, I have a full-time job that sometimes feels like two. 

It still seems necessary, though, if for no other reason than I need a reason to start writing for myself again. What better motivator than a stagnant column on an otherwise semi-lively site to make me feel embarrassed and therefore compelled to say something. Not for the sake of it (hopefully) but for the exercise. And, more than that, for the growth that's been hinted at in passing thoughts and daydreams of late. 

(One more step in that direction and I might actually have to follow through on something.)

Anyway, it's easy to feel romantic about a new start when you're A/sick with an impending cold B/drinking a good Malbec and C/listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas, OST. (It seems important to note that all three be present at the same time.) So I'll proceed with caution lest I commit myself to something that in reality will be a struggle to bring to fruition. I hope that's not always the case but it's true right now.   

Regardless, thanks for visiting the new home of my work, editorial, musical or otherwise. I'll do my best to give you a reason to come back. 

Until then, Merry Christmas.